The Vice President and Minister of Labor, Yolanda Díaz, has asked in an act of the Cercle d’Economia in Barcelona that businessmen unite to overcome the “culture of temporality”. Spain is the country with the most temporary work in the EU, but also has become increasingly precarious, with ultrashort contracts. Díaz has insisted on the need for a legislative change to reduce temporality, which his Ministry is already negotiating and which the employers do not like at the moment. Alongside the CEOE leader, Antonio Garamendi, the minister stressed that “the culture of precariousness and temporality is burned in our country” and has called for joining a pact against precariousness. “It is shameful,” he emphasized.
Five measures with which the Government wants to reduce temporary work
The vice president’s statements have been part of the dialogue held this morning by Yolanda Díaz with the UGT leader, Pepe Álvarez, the CEOE employer leader, Antonio Garamendi, and Núria Cabutí, member of the Cercle d’Economia Board of Directors, at the round table ‘Transformation of the economic model for the sake of greater productivity’, organized by the Catalan business entity. The messages from one side to the other of the participants have followed one another in a climate of cordiality, a call for dialogue and consensus so that Spain can take advantage of the European funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan and emerge stronger from this crisis due to the pandemic.
The person in charge of Labor has maintained that this culture of temporality and precariousness “etched by fire” is widespread. “Most of the companies do not use these formulas based on precariousness, but a high percentage do,” Díaz stressed. The figures for temporary contracts in the last decade show that contracts of less than seven days have skyrocketed, doubling since 2007. According to Social Security data, 27 million contracts were terminated in 2019. One in five, more than five million contracts were terminated the day after they were signed. They were one-day jobs. “The numbers are shocking,” Minister José Luis Escrivá pointed out last week in an interview.
Yolanda Díaz has pointed out the “plurality” of temporary contracts as one of the reasons why training contracts in Spain, which should be a gateway to the job market for young people, have so far failed. “The data on training contracts are shameful, I mean it crudely. Only 8,000 training contracts” so far this year, said Díaz, who has valued this type of contract as “quality” formulas. Specifically, the latest figures for May indicate that until that month 6.6 million contracts were signed in Spain, of which only about 8,500 were training.
“Why don’t companies go to the modality that would seem the correct one for young people? Because we have a plurality of possibilities of hiring that makes it unnecessary for companies to go to these healthy contractual modalities”, has evaluated Yolanda Díaz in one of her interventions . The minister stressed that Europe is asking Spain to reduce its temporality, for which it has undertaken the negotiation in the social dialogue of a legal reform for restrict temporary contracts through various measures.
“Ultimately, we must change the legislative framework, we must move towards Europe”, defended the third vice president. “The normal thing is to have stable contracts, this is normal,” said Díaz, along with formulas for hiring on a temporary basis, but “that must have a cause” and “advance in strong training modalities.”
For this, the minister has insisted that it is necessary to overcome one of the most difficult steps: the cultural change that tends to be temporary. Even sometimes being contrary to the “economic logic”, Díaz has warned, since there is an additional cost in the Social Security contribution for signing very short contracts, but its use continues to increase.
The employer defends the labor reform of the PP
The CEOE employer leader, Antonio Garamendi, has defended the idea that “most companies do it well”. “Normally, we try to do it well, that is why we reach agreements,” stressed the business leader, who stressed the importance of social dialogue in these times of pandemic.
Regarding the hiring reform, the CEOE leader assured that businessmen are looking at him, “we are going to work very hard”, but also recalled that the Public Administration has even more temporary status than private companies, especially in areas such as Education and Health, which depend on the Autonomous Communities. “We are always the bad guys in the movie and so bad so bad I don’t think we are,” he added.
Of the pending reforms that Europe demands, the business leader has specified that he differs with the Government on “what to do in these reforms” although he will negotiate with the Executive as up to now. As an example, Antonio Garamendi has insisted before Yolanda Díaz that businessmen do not believe that the PP labor reform should be changed.
Without mention of the SMI, although yes to the wages “low”
One of the issues absent from the vice president’s speech has been the interprofessional minimum wage (SMI), to which she has not referred directly. The debate on what to do with the SMI in 2021 has reopened. The Government has different positions, with Vice President Díaz in favor of increasing it somewhat this year and, on the other hand, Nadia Calviño’s criteria of keeping it frozen for the moment.
“We cannot continue to be a country in which part of its business model competes for low wages,” Yolanda Díaz stated at the business event. Yesterday the President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, cooled down the possibility of an increase in the SMI now, just as Nadia Calviño did this morning, arguing that the main thing now is to protect the increase in employment.
Yolanda Díaz recalled that “having decent and decent wages” is a factor in increasing productivity, so that workers “can consume.” The UGT secretary, Pepe Álvarez, has expressly mentioned the SMI. The union leader has pointed out that he does not know “how the freezing of the SMI can be combined” with a speech in favor of increasing productivity. “Low wages are not an element that helps to improve productivity in any country in the world,” Álvarez stressed. The business leader has not referred to the salary issue in his speeches.